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Media Watch

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Media City: Sterling salute, Coutinho warning

MATCH UP: James Milner and Raheem Sterling

MATCH UP: James Milner and Raheem Sterling

The Sunday papers are full of Manchester City v Liverpool-related hype as the build up to Sunday's big kick-off reaches fever pitch.

There are combined XIs, inevitable talk of Champions League hangovers/backlashes and a spot of transfer speculation.

So before you crack on with your cornflakes, take a look at this morning's media selections...

First up is former City and Liverpool man Didi Hamann picking his best side from both squads.

One player who is in and who has impressed the ex-Germany midfielder is Raheem Sterling

The piece reads: "Sterling's rapid development since Guardiola's appointment has been nothing short of exceptional, according to Hamann.

"'Sterling has been excellent,' he told Sky Sports. 'It started early on in the season where he did things I've not seen him do for a long time; setting up goals and producing step-overs.

'The way he has been playing this season is exceptional and Pep Guardiola deserves a lot for credit.'"

Man City v Liverpool: Kick-off time, team news and TV

Elsewhere, Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan has given an interview to the Daily Telegraph about the dangers City striker Sergio Aguero presents.

He said: "You have to play a little bit differently, you can’t really storm into duels. He is a world-class striker but a lot of teams in the Premier League  have world-class strikers so it’s nice to play against them.

"There is always a lot of respect for the strikers I play against but fear is not the  word. He is one of the best for sure.”

He added: “There are two ways it could go. Maybe they are wounded or maybe they are even more eager playing at home to show they want to win the game.

“Pep Guardiola’s teams always want to play really nice, attractive football. It was always very clear to see when he was manager of Bayern Munich. But maybe in England it is a little bit different. In the Bundesliga, Bayern is the best team but in England the league is so equal, I think also in the beginning of the season you have at least six teams who can become  champions so it is not so easy here.”

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The Guardian carry quotes from the embargoed section of Pep Guardiola's Friday press conference, where he revealed the players are hurting after Wednesday.

“The players are sad,” Guardiola says. “Like me they would have preferred to play against Liverpool and still be in the Champions League, flying after qualifying for the quarter-finals. But we aren’t and we have to handle that. Football is like this. Sport is like this.

“If anyone thinks I have to win all the time, they are wrong because other teams are good, other managers are clever. You are bound to lose sometimes and, when you do, you have to recover as soon as possible. Part of my job is to lift the players’ heads and keep a focus on what we can still achieve.”

Back to the view from the other side, and Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho's take on the game.

“It’s going to be a very ­important game,” Coutinho told the Mirror. “City is one of the big clubs in England, no doubt about that, and right now we are in a race with them for second place in the table. We need to win it.

“After being knocked out of the Champions League they will be even more focused on the Premier League, so we have to be ready.

“For us, this match is like a final because we have to beat them to move ahead of them in the table. That’s our aim.”

Finally a dash of transfer speculation in the Daily Star again linking City with Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci.

Paul Hetherington reports: "Ideally, Guardiola would prefer to sign younger players, but he needs to address defensive problems and Bonucci is seen as an experienced head alongside John Stones."

That’s all for now, but we’ll have all the post-match media reaction first thing on Monday.

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Fernandinho: Liverpool is a chance to bounce back

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Fernandinho says Sunday’s crucial Premier League home clash with Liverpool is just the challenge Manchester City need as they look to put their Champions League disappointment behind them.

It promises to be a mouth-watering clash at the Etihad with third-placed City still harbouring hopes of reigning in league leaders Chelsea with 11 games of the season to play.